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Using Akeeba Kickstart

[Tip]Tip

You can download Akeeba Kickstart from our site's download page. The latest release is always at the top of the list. Older versions are available for use with older versions of our backup software (Akeeba Backup and Akeeba Solo).

In order to use Kickstart, begin by downloading Kickstart itself from our site. You will download a ZIP archive which you have to extract first on your computer. Inside it you will find kickstart.php, several .ini files and a couple of .js file. You need to copy at least the PHP file into the root of the to be restored site. For example, if you are restoring on a subdirectory named example in the root of your XAMPP for Windows installation, you need to copy the file inside the c:\xampp\htdocs\example folder. Conversely, if you are restoring to a live host, upload the PHP file using FTP in your site's root.

The .ini files in the Kickstart ZIP package are translations. Kickstart will query your browser's default language and look for the respective translation file. For example, if the default browser language is German (de-DE) Kickstart will try to load the de-DE.kickstart.ini file in order to present you with a localized interface. If you want to take advantage of Kickstart's localization copy the respective .ini file in the same directory as the kickstart.php file. If unsure, upload all .ini files; they will be automatically removed after Kickstart finishes.

The .js files need not be uploaded. Kickstart will always attempt to load these files over the Internet when they are not present. If you do not have an Internet connection or your Internet connection is very slow you will need to copy these .js files along with kickstart.php for Kickstart to work.

The final step before being able to extract the archive is, of course, copying the archive itself in the same directory as kickstsart.php. If you have a multi-part archive remember to upload all of the archive parts, otherwise the extraction will, of course, fail. Moreover, if you are restoring to a live server please upload the backup archive and all of its parts using the Binary transfer mode. We suggest using FileZilla to do that. As soon as you connect to your site and right before uploading any files click on the Transfer, Transfer Type, Binary menu item. This will ensure that the backup parts will not be corrupted during transfer.

[Note]Note

Special note for most shared live hosts

If you are restoring on a shared live server which doesn't use suPHP (the majority of live servers) you may need to use Kickstart’s FTP mode if the Direct mode (default) doesn't work. In this case, creating a temporary directory is necessary. First make sure that your site's root directory has 0755 permissions. If unsure, ask your host. Then, create a directory named kicktemp inside the directory kickstart.php is in and give it 0777 permissions. Remember to remove this directory as soon as you are done restoring your site for security reasons!

Once you're ready with the preparation, launch Kickstart by visiting its URL which looks like http://localhost/mysite/kickstart.php on local hosts, or http://www.yoursite.com/kickstart.php on live hosts.

The first page is a reminder of key facts about Kickstart:

Kickstart's first page

After reading it, press ESC to close the information window and display the main interface:

Kickstart - Select a backup archive

In the first step, select your backup archive file. Usually, there is only one file and it is pre-selected for you.

[Important]Important

If you have a multipart backup archive only the main part with the .jpa, .jps or .zip extension will be displayed. The part files (.j01, .j02, ... or .z01, .z02, ...) will be extracted automatically. In fact, all of these part files MUST be present for the extraction to proceed.

If you are restoring an encrypted archive (JPS) please enter the password to it in the Archive password (for JPS files) field. Please remember that the password is case sensitive: abc, ABC and Abc are three different passwords.

Kickstart - Select an extraction method

In the second step, you have to choose an extraction method. The Directly method is the fastest and should work on all local and most live hosts. If you get error messages about unwritable files in later steps, you'll have to use the Use FTP mode here. The best option is the Hybrid one. It will intelligently switch between Directly and Use FTP on a file-by-file basis, automatically detecting which mode is more appropriate for it.

If you are using the FTP or Hybrid modes, you will see the FTP-specific options:

FTP host name

Use the domain name or IP address to access your site’s FTP server. Do not use the ftp:// protocol prefix. For example, ftp.example.com is correct whereas ftp://ftp.example.com is wrong.

FTP Port

Leave the default value (21) unless your host tells you otherwise. Do note that Kickstart only supports plain FTP and FTP over SSL connections, but not SFTP. If your host tells you to use port 22 – which is used only by SFTP – it won’t work.

Use FTP over SSL (FTPS)

Use only if your host tells you it is supported. FTPS is not the same as SFTP, do not confuse those two!

Use FTP Passive Mode

It's a good idea to turn it on, as most servers require it. If your host told you they require active mode, uncheck this option.

FTP user name and password

What they claim to be, the user name and password to connect to your site's FTP server

FTP directory

The absolute FTP path to your site’s root. The easiest way to find it is using FileZilla to connect to your site and navigate to your site's root, which is usually a directory named htdocs, httpdocs, http_docs, public_html or www. Look at the right hand pane, above the folder tree (Remote site text box). This is what you want. Copy it and paste it in Kickstart's FTP directory box.

Temporary directory

If you followed the instructions at the beginning of this chapter above, you have already created a kicktemp directory with 0777 permissions. If not, do it now. After that, just append /kicktemp to whatever is already written the Temporary Directory box. You can check that the directory exists and is really writeable by clicking on the Check button. The Reset button will reset the box to its initial value should you accidentally mess up its contents.

Click on Test FTP connection before proceeding to make sure that Kickstart can connect to your site through FTP before proceeding.

Kickstart - Fine tune

The fine tuning options are for advanced users only. Changing them might make it impossible to extract your backup archive. If you are not sure you understand what they do we advise you to not touch them.

Minimum execution time

Akeeba Kickstart breaks down the archive extraction process in small chunks. This value determines the minimum amount of time each of these chunks should take. It's recommended to leave the default setting of 1 second. If you have a server with strict usage limits you are suggested to set this to 5 and the maximum execution time to 3 (yes, the maximum will be lower than the minimum, it's not a typo).

Maximum execution time

Akeeba Kickstart breaks down the archive extraction process in small chunks. This value determines the maximum amount of time each of these chunks should take. Larger values will make the extraction marginally faster but more prone to server timeouts. Smaller values will make the extraction slower but less prone to server timeouts.

Stealth mode

When an extraction and restoration takes place anyone with a web browser can navigate to Kickstart itself or the restoration script. This is problematic on the security front. Enabling the Stealth Mode will make your site available only to your IP address while the extraction and restoration is in progress. Anyone else visiting the site will see a static HTML page, given below. When you clean up after the restoration is over your visitors will see your site normally.

[Important]Important

This feature only has any effect on hosts using the Apache web server or a compatible server which understands .htaccess files. It will definitely not work on hosts using IIS or NginX.

HTML file to show to web visitors

This option allows you to define the name of the static HTML page to show to your visitors when the Stealth Mode above is enabled. The file and its resources (images, CSS, Javascript files) must reside inside your to-be-restored site's root. You must only define the name of the file to use, not its URL. This means that offline.html is a valid setting, whereas http://www.example.com/offline.html is INVALID and will result in a 404 error thrown to your visitors.

Kickstart - Extract files

Click on the big green Start button. Kickstart will start extracting your site's files.

Kickstart- Extracting

The blue bar fills up while your site files are being extracted.

If you get an “Unwritable file” error message, go back and enable the Use FTP option before re-trying extraction. If all else fails, extract the archive locally and upload the extracted files to your site by FTP.

If you get an error message that the archive is corrupt, you have to check two things. First, make sure that you have uploaded all archive parts. In a multi-part archive situation, there is the main .jpa, .jps or .zip file and several “part files” with the same name as the main file but with extensions like .zip, .z01, .z02, etc (ZIP) or .jpa/.jps, .j01, .j02, etc (JPA/JPS). You have to upload all of those files for the extraction to work.

The other think you must check is how you downloaded and uploaded the backup archives. As mentioned in "The recommended method' section, you should use FTP in Binary transfer mode. This holds true for uploads as well. Try uploading the backup archive again, using FTP in Binary Transfer mode and retry. This usually does the trick.

When the extraction is over, Kickstart offers you a link to open the restoration script which was included in your archive file and is just extracted to your site:

Kickstart- Restoration and Clean Up

Click on this button and start reading the next chapter, detailing the use of the restoration script. Do not close Kickstart’s window/tab yet! You will need it to clean up after the restoration is over.

[Note]Note

Kickstart extracts the .htaccess and php.ini files in your site's root (if they exist in the backup archive) as htaccess.bak and php.ini.bak respectively to avoid any incompatibilities during site restoration. Do note that these files are restored to their original names during the last step of the restoration procedure. Should you use Kickstart just for extracting your site's files, please keep this information in mind as you will have to rename those files manually.

Kickstart- Restoration and Clean Up

Once you are done with the restoration script, click on the Clean Up button. This will remove the installation directory which holds the restoration script, Kickstart's files, the backup archive (and all its part files) and rename the file mentioned above back to their normal names.

Kickstart- Restoration and Clean Up

Use the View your site's front-end button to visit your site. Ignore the other button; it's only used for backups taken with Akeeba Backup for Joomla!.

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